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League reacts to Sterling’s ban

04/30/2014, 12:00am EDT

Players, owners praise commissioner for taking strong stance


Reaction to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banning Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life Tuesday for racist remarks:

“Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!! #BiggerThanBasketball #StriveForGreatness” — the Miami Heat’s LeBron James on Twitter.

“We are one.” — Clippers’ Web site.

“Commissioner Silver has made the right moves in response to this unfortunate absurd spectacle.” — Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert on Twitter.

“I applaud NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s swift and decisive response today. He sent a powerful message that there can be zero tolerance for racism and hatred in the NBA. I’m confident that the league, our players, and our fans will move on from this stronger and more unified.” — NBA great and Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan.

“The alleged statements made by Mr. Sterling were deplorable and cannot be tolerated. Bigotry and hatred have no place in the NBA or any other arena of our society.” — NAACP statement.

“Way to go, Commissioner Silver! The NBA stands for everybody!” — former star Shaquille O’Neal on Twitter.

“This is a huge victory for those of us that stood against this ugly display of racism.” — the Rev. Al Sharpton.

“Standing ovation’ for Commissioner Silver. Big time decision standing up for the league and it’s players. Now, Gotta see it through.”— Golden State guard Stephen Curry on Twitter. The Warriors are battling the Clippers in the playoffs.

“We’re all so fortunate to be part of a game that transcends these kinds of misguided ignorances. The beauty and ideals of our game will long outlive these kinds of things that should not happen."— Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle.

“Credit to NBA players, the NBA community, and Adam Silver for coming together and acting quickly. No room for racists in sport.” — NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.

“Unfortunately, just to hear that about him saying that about other black people, black players, or whatever it may be, it’s just tough. ... I’m pretty sure he knew he was going to get punished. We all make mistakes. I won’t forget, but I’ll forgive him.” — Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter.


Boycott averted

LOS ANGELES — NBA players strongly considered boycotting playoff games if Commissioner Adam Silver hadn’t ruled harshly against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Roger Mason, Jr., players’ union vice president, said Tuesday he spoke to representatives from every playoff team about the possibility of boycotting the upcoming postseason games in solidarity against any ruling that didn’t include a mandate for Sterling to sell the Clippers.

“We didn’t want to jump to conclusions, but we were prepared that if this decision came down, we were prepared to move forward that way,” Mason said. “We didn’t think that this was just a Clippers issue, so we didn’t want to put the pressure on Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and that team. We wanted to band behind our brothers to do the right thing.”

The Clippers hosted the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, one of three playoff games on the NBA schedule. Three more are scheduled for today.

Before Game 5 on Tuesday night, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he wasn’t certain his players formally had discussed a boycott. He thought the Clippers instead were just hoping for a suitable response from Silver.

“I think they had the trust that there would be,” Rivers said. “I’m glad we don’t have to find out.”

The Clippers and Warriors weren’t made available to reporters before Game 5.

Mason believes every team would have embraced a boycott, and the veteran guard said Silver was made aware of the possibility of the unprecedented move by Kevin Johnson, the Sacramento mayor and former NBA player who is advising the union on the issue.

“I spoke to [Warriors forward] Jermaine O’Neal, and he pretty much said that their team would be on board,” Mason said.

During a news conference at Los Angeles City Hall, several current and former players proclaimed their support for Silver’s decision. Sterling was fined $2.5 million and banned from the NBA for life for racist comments made in a recorded conversation.

Silver also said he will urge the NBA’s board of governors to compel Sterling to sell the Clippers.

“We were very clear that anything other than Sterling selling his team was not going to be enough for us,” Mason said.

Mason said the players aren’t yet completely satisfied. They want a concrete timetable for the board governors’ vote necessary to force Sterling to sell his team.

But Mason is confident the other NBA owners will vote to force Sterling to sell.

“I know a lot of the owners personally from spending time in negotiations, and I would be shocked if it wasn’t unanimous,” Mason said.

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